Campus Ministry and students are traveling to Washington, D.C. on Jan. 27, 2017 for this school year’s March for Life event, which protests the legalization of abortion.
Rev. Brian Needles, director of Campus Ministry and an adjunct professor of Moral Theology, is participating in the event this year. He said bus transportation to the capital will be available to help cover the costs of the trip. The trip will cost $15 before Dec. 12, and $20 after Dec. 12.
“The March for Life is a chance for our students who are passionate about defending all human life to give witness to the beauty of life and the dignity of every human person,” Needles said in an email interview.
When asked if students join this event or if it is just Campus Ministry that attends, Needles said that “Campus Ministry is the students of the University.” He added that of those attending the event, the majority will be students.
“The University is very supportive of the rights of [its] students to express their views and be advocates,” he said. When asked if students have commented negatively about participating in this event, Needles said he has not heard any negative reactions.
Gregory Lobo, a freshman history major, plans to attend the Walk for Life. “We need to protect our most basic rights [the right to life],” Lobo said via email. “Why not protest one of the greatest abominations in the modern world [abortion], and one of the most legally faulty decisions in the history of the Supreme Court?” Lobo added. He said he has wanted to participate in this event for a couple of years and is now doing it for the first time. Lobo said that he is not going to the event through Seton Hall but through his own church from home.
However, Alisha Nanda, a freshman biology and physician assistant major, had a different stance. “I just feel like every women should have [the] right to decide what to do with their own body. It shouldn’t be up to somebody else,” Nanda said.
According to Needles, it is a common misconception that abortion has been known by the Catholic Church to be an unforgivable sin, until last year when Pope Francis said it can be forgiven in his Apostolic Letter entitled, Misericordia et Misera, which means Mercy and Misery.
“Abortion has always been a forgivable sin in the Catholic Church,” Needles said. The Apostolic Letter is what is new, he said.
Pope Francis extended priests’ rights to absolve the sin of abortion past the Holy Year, which was from Dec. 8, 2015 to Nov. 20, 2016, according to the Apostolic Letter.
“Tolerance is a two-way street and I would hope that those students who are not pro-life would support and be tolerant of the rights of others to freely express their views, even if they disagree with those views,” Needles said.
Shea Dockan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.